Date: Sat, 19 Nov 1994 08:41:13 -0600

From: Natalie Maynor maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]RA.MSSTATE.EDU

Subject: Re: Recent Black English

Marilyn Silva reports that when she was teaching high school in NYC 25 years ago,

students THEN were reporting, "we don't talk like that -- that's the way country

folk talk!" Of course, there's always a mix in big cities between country and

city folk. And ... some people don't know objectively what they do. But ...

that's the report.

Talk like what? Use of invariant "be"? I find that especially ironic

(and perhaps strong evidence of what you said about people not knowing

objectively what they do). Guy and I found a very clear rural-urban split

in the use of invariant "be" by African American children (12-13 years old --

we tried to avoid some of the problems of age-grading by not using younger

children): the urban children were way ahead of the rural children in

their systematic use of invariant "be." Somewhere (I can't remember the

reference now) we included in an article samples of conversations between

two African American teenagers in Texas, one rural and the other urban.

--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]